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Ready or not, the countdown to the holiday season has begun! Though you may feel like this year has been a time warp and that it can’t possibly be time to start thinking of the Cyber 5 promotions—Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Sunday, and Cyber Monday—it is upon us. In fact, as of this blog’s publishing date, we’re a mere 17 weeks away. That shakes out to about 85 business days to build your holiday promotion plan.

A few ideas for ecommerce holiday planning

To kickstart your digital marketing strategy for the upcoming holiday season, consider the following strategies:

Optimize your website for holiday shopping


We all know an ecommerce website is the front door to the brand. Customers navigate your web pages in search of information and new products, as well as to manage their subscriptions. Identify your highest trafficked pages from both an organic search (SEO) perspective and in terms of page views to determine where and how to focus your efforts. Are there elegant ways to show off your promotions for the holidays without it being obtrusive to the user experience? For example, Native did a homepage banner takeover for Black Friday in 2020, showcasing their seasonal scents and holiday sales.

But the homepage isn’t the only place to showcase your deals. Remember: Not everyone will land on your homepage while online shopping. If they’re entering via a page that pops up in a google search, you’ll want to include your promo language and advertisements there as well to capture the most eyeballs from potential customers.

Leverage social media for your holiday deals 

primal kitchen

Just as your website is the front door to your brand, social media is oftentimes the first or second location a customer will go to get information about you. Work prior to the holidays to cultivate your brand presence on social media, with posts designed for engagement and interaction from your target audience. You can also create special promotions just for your social media followers to incentivize them to pay attention to your social channels.

To increase conversions during the holiday shopping season, develop a marketing strategy on social media that enables new and existing holiday shoppers to get excited about the upcoming discounts for the Cyber 5. Your holiday related ads should stand out and immediately showcase the value-add of your offering. Case in point: Primal Blueprint released their Black Friday promotions a few days early, showcasing exactly what the offering was up front. 

Make two (or more) good first impressions and create brand loyalty


Generally speaking, when a new customer chooses to purchase from you and has their first unboxing experience, they form their first and lasting impression of your brand. Subscriptions can be amazing and unique holiday gifts that your customers will purchase for a loved one. Here, you not only have the opportunity to wow the purchaser, but also the person or people receiving the gift for the first time. Your mark could easily be made on multiple people who are entirely unaware of your products, which, in turn, creates loyal customers down the line.

Gifting plays into the relational aspect of commerce and subscriptions. The product is associated with a loved one and becomes an extension of their interpersonal relationship, which, in turn, comes with “word of mouth” validation. For traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, this potential is somewhat lessened, as the convenience of online retail can create a very quick groundswell with happy customers. Especially with consumer shopping habits around the holidays—waiting until deals are available, and then rushing to activate said deals—online retailers can capitalize on being available from anywhere at any time. (Cue the midnight shopping online!!)

Create holiday promotions with value


Subscription customers have become customers because of the convenience and value that subscription products have brought to their lives. Your promotions should take that value-add to the next level, providing them with options to upsell or cross-sell themselves. 

For new customers, offering a starter pack or a way to sample your offerings in the first box for a discounted price is a great way to entice them to purchase. Another popular tactic by many ecommerce businesses during the holiday season is to include a free gift with purchase of a specialty or new box. 

Another tactic is offering an option to “send a free box” for your customers to easily share their favorite brands with those that they love. For example, let’s say I fell in love with a digital picture frame from Skylight Frame. I purchased one with a Black Friday discount code, and then gifted one to my mom. She was so blown away that she then told her sister and other family members to get on the Skylight Frame train—amplifying the single purchase made by a force multiplier.  

Subscriptions: your brand’s secret weapon for holiday success

Our research shows that more and more, customers are investing in subscriptions—not only to fulfill key aspects of their daily lives, but also to surprise and delight both themselves and their loved ones. During the holiday season, leveraging your subscription offerings has the potential to be one of your greatest strategies for success … that is, if you plan ahead. Start your holiday planning now to boost sales later in the year and get the most out of the season—for both your subscribers and your ecommerce business.